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Weekly News – Jun 20, 2019

Wertmuller to get Career Oscar

Lina Wertmuller will receive an Oscar for Career Achievement at the 11th Annual Governor’s Award ceremony on October 27, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The comedic director could always be counted on for insightful and hilarious treatments of politics, society and sexual themes, which rebelled against Italian social norms of the late 20th century. Italian-born Wertmuller was always rebellious. The descendant of aristocrats, Wertmuller was thrown out of 15 educational institutions before attending a theater school. It was there that she met Federico Fellini who offered her a production position on the film “8 1/2.”  This led to Fellini funding Wertmuller’s first two films, “The Lizard” in 1963 and “Let’s Talk About Men” in 1965. In 1972, she won the Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival for her hilarious classic “Seduction of Mimi.” Wertmuller, 90, was the first woman director nominated for an Oscar in 1977 for her film “Pasqualino Settebellezze.”

A First for Italian Towns

The Sardinian town of Guspini has become the first Italian municipality to name all its new roads after women. Among the pioneering names in the new industrial zone are astrophysicist Margherita Hack; architect Elena Valentini Luzzato; Francesca Sanna Sulis, an 18th century silk trade pioneer; Pasqua Selis Zua, a rebel leader in an 1868 revolt; Eva Mameli Calvino, mother of novelist Italo Calvino, the first woman to become a university lecturer in 1915 and local artist Maria Lai, who ran blue ribbons around her village in the world’s first work of ‘relations art.’

Supercomputer of the Future

Italy has been chosen to host a ‘supercomputer of the future.’ It has been chosen by the European Committee on High-Performance Calculus (EuroHPC), according to Education and Research Minister Marco Bussetti. The supercomputer will be able to carry out an extraordinary number of operations per second and will be located in the city that is home to the world’s oldest university – Bologna. “The assignation is a cause for pride on the part of our country. It’s a strategic initiative and will be an engine for growth and innovation,” said Bussetti.

Freak Storm in Puglia

Snowplows hit the streets of southern Puglia in Italy’s latest case of extreme weather. Parts of the province of Lecce were turned white by an unseasonal hail storm, leading to remarkable scenes as people in shorts and T-shirts were left digging out cars from up to six inches of ice. Plows were brought out of storage to clear roads, while in other areas heavy downpours swept away cars and flooded houses. The storms also damaged crops in Puglia, which grows many of Italy’s olives, grapes and other fruits. By this time of year average temperatures in southern Puglia are typically in the upper 70s, but this year has seen Italy swept by extreme weather, from floods in the east, high winds in the south and freezing temperatures in the north. The disturbances follow an unusually warm winter. While the sun has returned to Rome and most of either coast, Italy’s Civil Protection Department is warning of ongoing storms and heavy rains in the far south and north, as well as over the mountains running up the center of the peninsula.

Taking a Dangerous Photo

A 23-year-old American tourist needed emergency brain surgery after tumbling from the equestrian statue in the center of Piazza Bodoni in the predawn hours last Wednesday. He sustained the head injuries in a fall of several feet. He is believed to have climbed the monument to Italian General Alfonso Ferrero La Marmora in order to take a selfie. The man, the son of a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles manager, is in the intensive care unit of Turin’s CTO Hospital. The equestrian monument dates from 1891. Visitors and locals alike have been known to behave recklessly around Italy’s monuments, with several people caught scaling the Trevi Fountain or diving off the Rialto Bridge. Italian police reserve the right to fine anyone caught behaving badly around historic monuments, statues and the like, whether they are putting themselves and others at risk or just creating a nuisance.

Ancient Building Uncovered

A Doric building believed to date back to the sixth or fifth century BC, has emerged at the famed ancient site of the city of Paestum near Naples, after thick undergrowth was cleared. Archaeologists discovered capitals, columns, cornices and other features on the building. The most surprising feature is a panel, probably a so-called metope, in sandstone decorated with three bas-relief rosettes, similar to others at Paestum and the surrounding area. The ruins of Paestum are famous for their three ancient Greek Temples in the Doric order, dating from about 600 to 450 BC, which are in a very good state of preservation. The site is open to the public and there is a modern national museum within it, which also contains the finds from the associated site of Foce del Sele.